Koch: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) on Friday informed the Kerala High court that it cannot take measurers to widen the holy 18 steps of the famous Lord
Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala or enhance the pooja days
at present to ease the rush of pilgrims, but was exploring the
feasiblity of introducing a conveyor system for pilgrim
movement across the `Srikovil` (sanctum sanctorum).
The high court had on July 15 last year directed the board
to consider widening of the 18 holy steps (Pathinattam Padi)
to ease pilgrim movement and to enable them to have convenient
darshan. On Sept 2, there was a further direction to consider
the possiblity of having the sabarimala shrine opened round
Following the directions, the board collected opinion of
According to the board, temples in Kerala are `Thanthric`
in representations symbolising physical body and subtle body
of the human form. Body and the presiding diety are designed
and constructed according to thanthric injunctions and
principles of Indian temple architecture, statement filed by P
R Anitha, Secretary, TDB, said.
All the thanthric and vedic experts in the state were of
the unanimous opinion that holy steps were unique in nature
and cannot be altered and the opening of the temple throughout
the year and any change in the present form of poojas was not
A meeting of experts had been conducted on Jan 3 this year
and the thanthric, vedic experts and members of
representatives of Royal families of Pandalam and Travancore
were of the opinion that any modification of the temple
structure cannot be permitted.
Board said even if the holy steps are widened, there was no
sufficient space available in the upper courtyard of the
shrine to accomodate more pilgrims. If more pilgrims are
freely allowed to ascend the steps, it would create more
pressure including chances of stampede, it was stated.
To provide more breathing space to pilgrims, it had been
decided by the board to demolish few shops and sheds close to
The copra processing unit and coconut stock yard would be
The temple is opened to devotees during the annual
pilgrimage season from October to January, besides five days
every month. At least 102 pilgrims had been killed as they
were returning after witnessing the `makaravillaku` on Jan 14
at Pullmedu this year.